Published: 19:52, August 17, 2023 | Updated: 20:58, August 17, 2023
Top university grads pursue careers in HK after internships
By Atlas Shao

In this undated photo, students pose at the internship program. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

Students from Hong Kong, the Chinese mainland and overseas, who completed internship programs at the Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute on Thursday, said they would consider pursuing careers in the city as the internships have enabled them to see the city’s strengths in science and technology.

They are among the 90 top university students attending two eight-week summer internship programs from June to August. They were selected from 3,000 applicants from Hong Kong, the mainland and overseas, double the number of last year.

Unlike learning at university, Yan said her mentors at the internship provided more practical advice, enabling her to understand how to handle practical issues encountered in the projects  

Denis Yip Shing-fai, CEO of ASTRI, organizer of the internships, said the race for internships was highly competitive this year, with an acceptance rate of only 3 percent. Twenty percent of the interns came from local and mainland universities, over 40 percent from the United Kingdom, nearly 30 percent from the United States, and others from the Asia-Pacific region, showing that Hong Kong remains the city of choice for students considering long-term career development.

READ MORE: 1,000 HK students set for mainland summer internships

Yip said he hopes that the internships encourage more young professionals to discover the potential for innovation and technology development in Hong Kong.

Yip pointed out that many people see Hong Kong only as a financial center, but the development of technology is also crucial. 

“Whenever interviewing Hong Kong’s top students, people always ask them if they would study medicine. I hope that in the future, some top students would voluntarily talk about their interests in scientific research.” 

The two programs, under the Summer Internship Programme and the Fintech Future Leader Academy (Internship), are mainly for students studying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), he said. 

Sparsh Khurana, an Australian student who has not been to Hong Kong before, described the internship program as a memorable experience. “There are a lot of new things to learn, and we are a diverse team,” he said.

Khurana said that the experience has sparked a desire in him to pursue a career in Hong Kong, something he had never considered before joining the program, in which all his mentors were incredibly supportive and he was surrounded by interns with different scientific knowledge that allowed them to complement each other. 

READ MORE: 1,400 students apply for corporate internship program

Another participant Yan Jia, 22, is studying artificial intelligence at the University of Hong Kong, and is mainly considering work in Hong Kong or Shenzhen. She said she believes that Hong Kong and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area are at the forefront of AI development, and Hong Kong has closer connections to the world. 

Unlike learning at university, Yan said her mentors at the internship provided more practical advice, enabling her to understand how to handle practical issues encountered in the projects.

Su Meiling, who is majoring in aeronautical and aviation engineering, has been studying in Hong Kong for four years. She said Hong Kong has a well-established industry-academia-research system, with close communication between scientific research development, industry, and the government. This program is closely connected to her major and provided lots of equipment for researching, she said.